3 Simple Rules for Pattern Mixing

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Rule No. 2: Vary the size.

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though we think of plaid as a bold pattern, it can also be subtle.

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Rule No. 3: One bolder, one more subtle.

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Finally, always remember that if it looks right, it is right. And if it looks bad, it is probably bad. Make sure you're also going a bit by feel.

How to mix it up with confidence and style

Patterns are one of the pleasures of menswear. But mixing patterns can be a bit tricky and treacherous. So to help you do it with confidence and style, here are three simple rules for pattern mixing.

pattern mixing rules

pattern mixing rules

| WEARING | Suitsupply blazer, Al Bazar shirt, Banana Republic pants, Drake’s tie, Rolex watch, Shoes c/o Paul Evans | PHOTOGRAPHY | by Rob McIver Photo

1. Choose two different types of patterns. Patterns basically come in three flavors – stripes, dots and checks. Pick two from different families, or three if you’re feeling more adventurous. Is it possible to work within one type of pattern and still make it interesting? Yes, and we’ve previously given some advice on how to pull this off with style.

2. Vary the size. The name of the game when it comes to pattern mixing is to make things complementary. And size is an important factor. Make sure the scale of the patterns is different. It can be exaggerated or done with more of an eye towards subtlety.

pattern mixing rules

3. One bolder, one more subtle. Make sure one of your patterns takes center stage. Two bold patterns will compete with one another and create an undesirable clash. Plaid is usually seen as a bolder pattern, but as you can see here, it’s more subtle on the jacket, while the strength of the slightly larger houndstooth of the tie really comes to the fore.

pattern mixing rules

Finally, remember that these rules are guidelines. Just because something meets all the specific criteria doesn’t necessarily mean it works in practice. Use these rules as a starting point, but always remember to go by feel and instinct as well.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

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  • thecoderunner

    Hi Brian, great outfit as always, are those BR pants from this season? is there a link?